Vying for the top spot of London's latest it-restaurant is Isabel, the younger, stylish sister from the Casa Cruz family
Words Helen Brown
Hot on the heels of London It-restaurant Casa Cruz, comes its stylish sister joint, Isabel. The former cemented hot-spot status by fusing late-night-lounge with modern British cuisine. Now, Isabel is bringing a similarly chic air to Albemarle Street. It has all the components needed to secure a place amongst the gastronomic heights of London’s elite eateries. Ideal location, delectable food and gorgeous interiors that are made for Instagram. It’s the fifth in the portfolio of Juan Santa Cruz. The Chilean-born, former investment banker began with three Ritzy restaurants in Buenos Aires. Next came the esteemed Casa Cruz, and now Isabel.
Fans of Casa Cruz will spot Isabel a mile off for its burnished copper door and bowler-hatted doorman. Inside is more copper: on the pillars, the ceiling, the stools and the bar. Glossy monochrome tables feature atop a multi-coloured geometric carpet. It’s no doubt one of the most beautiful restaurants to open in London for a long time. Even the toilets are exquisite and certainly worth a visit. Each features a unique hand-painted wallpaper of tropical flamingoes or Korean peonies.
WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
The food fits the same low-carb, high-protein mould as Casa Cruz. The small-plates menu specialises in Mediterranean food with Argentine influences. Think grilled courgette with mint and lemon; veal ragù gnocchi and a paper-thin prawn crudo. Of course Santa Cruz’s legendary blackened chicken features. Desserts take a departure from the virtuous mains. There’s mille-feuille, Opera Cake and lashings of dulce de leche to be devoured.
The only thing missing from Casa Cruz is the dance floor, but this void is happily filled at Isabel. Post-dinner, head downstairs to the ultimate “after-hours” lounge. Emerald green silk walls encase cosy velvet banquettes, a full bar and DJ. Anyone who’s anyone will be here after 10pm.